Christopher Rodolico, PT, DPT
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an umbrella term that’s often used to describe a number of different injuries that affect the muscles, nerves, and tendons, primarily in the arms, that are often thought to be caused by repetitive movement and overuse. In this blog post, we’ll look at common causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment for RSI.
What causes RSI?
Repetitive strain injuries, like the name suggests, are a group of injuries that are thought to be caused by repetitive and overutilization of certain anatomical areas. There are a number of factors that are associated with these injuries, some of which include:
- Maintaining the same body position or posture for long periods of time.
- Stressing the same muscles via the same or similar activities for prolonged or repetitive periods of time.
- Previous injuries to the upper extremity that may have caused compensatory movement patterns.
- Job duties involving maintaining abnormal postures or maintained static positioning for periods of time.
Who gets RSI?
While most commonly RSI is associated with desk-workers, any occupation or hobby that involves repetitive movements can increase your risk of getting a repetitive stress injury. This includes those working frequently with computers, musicians, cooks, construction workers, drivers, gamers, and a lot more. In today’s society, due to the widespread usage of tools and increase in sedentary positioning, almost all fields are subject to unique forms of RSI-type conditions.
What are the symptoms of RSI?
RSI can include a number of symptoms, especially as it refers to quite a few different conditions. If anything feels “off,” that is enough to warrant being seen by a medical professional; however, generally speaking, symptoms of RSI include:
- Persistent or intermittent pain, tenderness, or discomfort in an affected muscle or joint region
- Tingling, numbness, or pins and needles sensation throughout hand or arm
- Loss of sensation in a specific area
- Loss of strength in a specific area
What is the treatment for RSI?
Prevention is the best possible means of “treating” RSI. It’s important to utilize proper ergonomic guidelines in order to ensure that your job or hobby is being done in as safe and effective a position as possible. For those on a computer, this means modifying your workspace to be sure that your desk, chair, and screen are all aligned properly; keeping your wrists as “neutral” as possible; keeping your grip on the mouse light; and avoiding typing excessively. Each job or hobby requires its own ergonomic set-up, so be sure to seek out assistance if any concerns arises in regards to this potential injury.
For those of you who are already dealing with issues relating to RSI, physical therapy is one of the most effective methods to treat and manage these conditions, in order to help you return to the activities you need or want to be able to perform in a pain-free fashion.
- If you experience any pain or dysfunction and you’re concerned about potential RSI-related issues, or have any questions concerning potential injuries, click the following link to discover more information about physical therapy and how Robbins Rehabilitation can help: https://www.robbinsptwest.com/
- If you are injured and are ready to get started right away on the rehabilitation process, then do not hesitate to give a call at 610-841-3555.
- That’s all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and if you sign up for a course you will be able to get to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!